Prairie Ridge Ecostation

White-tailed Deer

Odocoileus virginianus

As autumn marches towards winter one of our largest and best known species of wildlife becomes more apparent at Prairie Ridge. For the past several weeks, both staff and visitors have been treated to wonderful sightings of White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Once rare, White-tailed Deer are now common and prolific residents throughout North Carolina. Prairie Ridge offers many opportunities to see deer both along the Forest Trail, as well as among the tall grasses of the Piedmont Prairie. 

A buck stands outside the deer fencing of the gardens.        A doe peeks out of the tall prairie grasses.        White-tailed deer often create narrow trails through the forest.

During the fall, when deer begin to mate and thus are more active, we can catch glimpses of these otherwise secretive animals. White-tailed Deer are normally crepuscular, only active at dawn and dusk, but can now be seen late into the morning and early in the evening hours. Spend some time at Prairie Ridge or in your own community looking for deer or evidence of their presence. Deer trails, rubs, tracks, and scat are all good indicators of deer activity.

Deer tracks can be seen in the mud near water.        Deer bucks will rub the bark from young trees and shrubs to mark their territory.        Piles of scat are definite clues to recent deer activity.

Find out more about the natural happenings at Prairie Ridge at our What Time Is It In Nature Archive.